updated 07:05 pm EST, Tue March 6, 2012
Updates to Wine 1.4, eliminates need for X11
Codeweavers has decided to revamp its flagship product, CrossOver, once again as a major new version is released. The new CrossOver XI is a single, complete package for Mac and Linux users, letting them run some Windows applications in a virtual environment without the expense of an additional Windows license. The program has updated its core, Wine, to version 1.4 and made improvements to registration, support for Microsoft Office, games and many other applications.
The idea behind CrossOver is that most users have a very small number of Windows applications that they need to run that have no direct or preferred Mac or Linux equivalents. The $40 CrossOver program, which relies on Wine's Windows API mimicking to "fool" programs into thinking they are running on Windows, may well be able to run many of the most popular games, productivity and vertical applications switchers and cross-platform users might need without partitioning, allocating drive space, or purchasing a more expensive virtualization program.
The company points out that both Apple's Boot Camp and virtualization programs like Parallels generally require users to purchase an new copy of Windows (which can cost up to $100 or more) on top of any expense in buying the virtualization program. Because CrossOver does not successfully run all Windows programs, however, users are encouraged to download the trial and test their preferred Windows programs before buying.
On the Mac, CrossOver (now downloaded as a .zip file rather than a .dmg) is installed by simply dragging the program icon into the Applications folder (the program, when first run, will offer to move itself if needed). Windows installers and programs can then be dragged onto the CrossOver icon and an automatic "bottle" determination and installation process will begin. CrossOver can support programs that are compatible with Windows 95 through Windows 7 and users can opt to choose which "bottle" version of the Windows APIs they want to use to run a program manually if they prefer.
The new version also makes some substantial updates and changes, including a registration method that prevents having to re-register, improve file association handling, more progress bars for system functions (such as simulated reboots), and the automatic inclusion of quartz-wm, which improves handling of windows under Lion and should preclude users having to install X11. Wine 1.4 brings many other improvements to CrossOver, including a faster bitmap drawing engine, support for RAR file handling, uDisk support, audio improvements and much more.
CrossOver XI supports all the programs that ran under CrossOver Pro, CrossOver Games and all the other previous versions, and has added support for Quicken 2012 and Microsoft Office 2010, along with various .Net service packs. The company notes many improvements to various editions of Microsoft Office from 2000 on up, fixes for IE 6 and 7, PIA Pro now prints reliably, fixes for crashing issues in Quicken 2009 and 2011 and a number of game-related issue fixes which cover Left 4 Dead (and Left 4 Dead 2), Skyrim, Starcraft II, Star Trek Online and Steam.
CrossOver can now correctly handle installers that have spaces in their name, can now accept accents in bottle names, greatly improved its Bidi (right to left text) support, and the Mac version now has user-controlled auto-updating. The company's website has also been updated to feature the new version and simply the most commonly-asked question: "will (name of Windows application) run under CrossOver?" with new top-25 lists and a searchable database so buyers can easily input the name of the program they want to run and instantly see what level of support it has in CrossOver.
CrossOver XI runs on Intel Macs using Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) or Lion (10.7) and drops support for Leopard. The program costs $40 with one month of e-mail support, or buyers can opt for six months of e-mail support and upgrades for $50 or a year of support and upgrades (including one phone support incident) for $60.